I attended AIV's first large group last Friday. This was the first year that I missed all of NSO, except for Welcome Back BBQ. I missed Bubble Tea Bash (I made a spontaneous decision to visit Jerry over Labor Day), NCBBQ, doing follow-up, and all that. It was a strange feeling. Here I was, at AIV large group, there but not fully... I don't know how to describe it. It was wonderful, though. The gospel presentation by Grace was humbling and convicting, and I think using a video to show what AIV is was an awesome idea! God certainly is going to do great things through AIV - I know it. :)
However, it also led me to think where my place is now in AIV. Is it still in AIV? Or should I venture out and find another Christian community? With my schedule now, it's hard to know if I'll have time to be in a small group, since I come back from class and work so late. And being in grad school... it kind of gives you a different mentality, if you know what I mean. I don't mean that it's harder to relate to people or anything - it's just different. When Jerry was in grad school the last two years, he would go to AIV with me, but sometimes I could sense he was reluctant. I didn't understand it then, but I totally understand it now. He was often tired on Fridays, and I would get annoyed - "Why can't you just come?" He told me he felt left out a lot of the time, and I didn't understand.
I totally understand now. It's not that AIV is any different - it's such a wonderful place for people to learn and grow as Christians in college. However, I don't know if God is calling me elsewhere, too.
At this point, I've also been reflecting on how I'm in a season of learning and waiting patiently. After this year, who knows where I'll be working? Will it be in Maryland? Will it be across the country, or overseas? So many questions I think about everyday, and God has been teaching me to be still and trust in Him. He already knows, so I have nothing to worry about.
****Jerry and I have been going through a devotional for dating couples. We bought it last year, but didn't get through it, so we renewed our commitment to go through it together and to get through it, diligently. It's a discipline we both need to grow in - to get something done together. We're now on the fourth week and it's been wonderful. Each week has a topic. The first week was love, the second week was grace, and the third week was prayer. We've both been reminded of God's amazing grace -- His grace for us is everyday, and it's constant. I think it's something I often forget - I often see God as an angry father, and I see how I've disappointed Him. Through conversations with Jerry and reading this book, God has revealed Himself to me in ways that I've needed to see Him again. In last week's topic on prayer, I decided to challenge myself to pray more.
I began to pray on the way to work. It takes me about an hour to drive to Detroit in the mornings - a perfect time for uninterrupted prayer! So instead of popping in a CD like I usually do, I started to pray. It felt awkward and super long at first, but I kept going, and I would end up being able to pray for 20 minutes or more and it also challenged me to listen to God. On Friday morning, I was able to see the most beautiful sunrise (haha, I get up so early now...). The clouds were pink and looked like cotton candy - wish I could've taken a picture! But it was a cool reminder that God's beauty is everywhere - we just have to be open and available to see it! I've been able to pray for all these things on my heart and people that I care about more consistently than I have in a while, and I hope I can continue to do so!